This week I was standing talking to two friends when another person joined us and started talking to just one of the group. I don’t know this person well but we have been introduced before and often see each other at other gatherings, so my initial response when she ignored us, was to think she was being rude. I shrugged it off, as you do, resolving that’s “just how some people are”. Later at home, I had a good moan and complain about “people like that”.
The next day as I was doing my contemplation meditation (thank you Fr Richard Rohr) this came to me. That in those moments when people seemingly give us reason to be offended we have two choices. We can be offended or we can choose to lean in and do the very thing we think the other person should do. The issue of course is that being offended comes easier to us. We get to be right, we get to judge, we get to feel “better than”.
Choosing to lean in means pushing ourselves and our judgements aside. It often requires real effort, the icky hard-to-do kind that we can easily talk ourselves out of with a good dose of medicinal (feels-so-good) justification. But if we are to lean in – we don’t get to be right – we have to do right.
In the scenario above, I could have said “Hey Mary, great to see you – how are you?” I could have been intentional about connecting with her instead of being so quick to judge her.